James Harden Traded To Nets In Swaps Involving 4 Teams

James Harden Traded To Nets In Swaps Involving 4 Teams: The deed is done. James Harden was traded by the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and the landscape of the NBA changed along with it.

The Rockets dealt Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a wild 4-team swap. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, here’s what those two clubs, along with the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, wound up with.

James Harden Traded To Nets In 4-Team Swap

  • Rockets: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 Nets first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 Milwaukee Bucks first (22, unprotected), 4 Nets 1st-round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
  • Nets: James Harden
  • Pacers: Caris LeVert, 2nd-rounder
  • Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince

Brooklyn Nets

  • Get: James Harden 
  • Lose: Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, and Jarrett Allen

The Nets did it, they got their man. James Harden is officially headed over to Brooklyn to form a three-headed monster with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (when Irving feels like returning).

As things stand, this team is likely to be the favorite in the East with this move. Losing Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen hurts, but this league is the most top-heavy of any sport. You can lose high-end role players and live to see another day if superstars are healthy and active.

Harden should suck up all of LeVert’s role and then some. DeAndre Jordan will go from a DNP-CD (did not play, coach’s decision) back to a 20-minute-per-game role in place of Allen. Kurucs and Prince were just depth pieces whose roles will be replaced handily by Jeff Green and the starters.

James Harden’s dad-bod physique is an obvious issue, but he has been productive nevertheless. Harden should slide right into a high-usage role in Brooklyn with little-to-no fantasy value lost with this transition. He is as elite an offensive player as they come and will mesh well with former teammate Durant in a shared primary role until Irving returns.

Once (if?) Irving returns, then things get a tad tricky for fantasy basketball. These three usage monsters will only have one ball to share. It is extremely likely that they are staggered throughout games so that at least one is on the floor at all times, similar to what the Warriors did with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. Also, it is possible that rest days are allotted to the injury-prone Irving and post-achilles Durant. During those days two of the three stars can compensate for a down game when all three were active.

As a fantasy boost, this team will probably leak points after losing Jarrett Allen and adding a liability like Harden to the backcourt. They were 11th in defensive rating coming into Wednesday and that should dip soon and increase the offensive volume. The Nets were 4th in PACE and could hit first if things break right.

As the old saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats”. From a pure basketball perspective, Harden’s fit is perfect for the offense and none of these guys should be hurt substantially when all three are active.

BetMGM now lists the Nets (+300) to win the NBA Finals, and as of Wednesday evening, they’re now the clear favorites to Win the Eastern Conference (+125), vaulting past the Milwaukee Bucks (+350).

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Houston Rockets

  • Get: Victor Oladipo, Donte Exum, Rodions Kurucs, a ton of first-round draft picks
  • Lose: James Harden

Losing a superstar like James Harden is never easy, but the Rockets are headed in the right direction. They had a clear team chemistry issue with Harden’s toxicity spewing in the locker room and now can start fresh. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins will continue to act as the vocal leaders in the locker room with their respective roles expanded when healthy.

Cousins is on the waiver wire in 43% of Yahoo! fantasy basketball leagues, and that could change soon with more shots to go around.

James Harden Traded To Nets In 4-Team Swap: Victor Oladipo was also on the move, going from the Indiana Pacers to the Houston Rockets

James Harden Traded To Nets In 4-Team Swap: Victor Oladipo was also on the move, going from the Indiana Pacers to the Houston Rockets. (USA TODAY Sports)

Wall’s knee will continue to be monitored and managed but the ball will be in his hands plenty moving forward. He is currently averaging 18.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.4 threes per game, expect a jump across the board for the former all-star guard.

Oladipo will see a slightly expanded role from what he had with the Pacers, but he is going to a much worse team. His usage rate has been around 26% these past two seasons but could jump to 30% as it was in his breakout 2017-2018 year. He’s averaging a measly 42.1% from the field and 36.2% from three with 20 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.

Overall, he should see a slight statistical volume uptick on marginally palatable efficiency. He is still managing his health and resting on back-to-backs like Wall. Both could be in line for boom games when the other is out.

Indiana Pacers

  • Get: Caris LeVert
  • Lose: Victor Oladipo

This is pretty much a straight swap of shooting guards and their roles for the Pacers. LeVert should maintain his recent output to a certain degree but will be playing on a more league-average team in terms of pace (Indiana ranks 15th). While he did have a back-court essentially to himself in Brooklyn, the Pacers like to spread the ball around much more and put their players in advantageous positions to win.

LeVert’s 30% usage role should tick down to 26-27% as he will have to share the floor with Malcolm Brogdon, but his 43.5% field goal percentage could move up with better ball movement and initiators around him to get open shots. He could even see an increase in defensive stats with a decreased offensive role and getting to play next to DPOY favorite Myles Turner.

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Get: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
  • Lose: Dante Exum

This move screams ‘future Andre Drummond trade.’ Drummond is on an expiring deal and of no use to a young Cavaliers team. Allen can slide ride in as the starting C once Drummond is dealt and remain productive with a heightened ceiling.

However, until then, Allen’s role could be similar to last season where he played behind DeAndre Jordan and was hardly fantasy-viable. As things stand, the Cavaliers are HEAVY in the front-court with Allen, Drummond, JaVale McGee, Larry Nance Jr., and Kevin Love upon return.

Taurean Prince is lowkey the biggest winner of this trade for fantasy. He is not a bad basketball player, though he did plateau after a promising start to his NBA career. The Cavs are desperate for help on the wing and now can sift through rookie Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, and Taurean Prince in their rotation. Prince’s role has tanked this season with an 18% usage rate in 18.2 minutes per game but in Cleveland, he should return to a 20% usage rate in nearly 30 minutes per game.

Pick him up if available for points, rebounds, threes, and steals at the cost of field-goal percentage.

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